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The French Mistress: A Novel of the Duchess of Portsmouth and King Charles II Paperback – July 7, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 377 pages
  • Publisher: NAL Trade; Original edition (July 7, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451226941
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451226945
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #962,382 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Susan Holloway Scott, a graduate of Brown University, is the author of more than thirty historical novels and novellas. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Susan Holloway Scott is the author of over forty historical novels and novellas. Writing under her own name as well as Miranda Jarrett, her bestselling books have received numerous awards and honors. With more than three million copies of her books in print, she has been published in nineteen foreign countries around the world. Her most recent historical novels have been set in 17th century England, in the decadent, politically-charged royal court of King Charles II; all have been Historical Novels Review Editors' Choice Titles. Her next book, THE FRENCH MISTRESS, will be released by NAL/Penguin in July, 2009. She is a graduate of Brown University, and lives with her family outside of Philadelphia, PA.

Customer Reviews

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Maybe it was because I knew the ending, but the author never grabbed my attention.
Rio
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and can't wait for whatever comes next from Ms. Scott, who is now one of my all time favorite authors.
Mercedes J.
The French Mistress is the story of Louise de Keroualle, beloved paramour to King Charles II of England.
Amy M. Bruno

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Luan Gaines HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 7, 2009
Format: Paperback
Holloway Scott makes a valiant effort to rehabilitate one of the most reviled courtesans of Charles II of England's Restoration court. An innocent when first sent to the French court of Louis XIV, Louise de Keroualle cuts her teeth on political intrigue as lady-in-waiting to Charles' sister, Henriette-Anne, wife of the cruel Duc d' Orleans. Louise becomes an integral part of a critical intrigue of the era: a secret treaty between France and England. Louise styles herself "the secret cause of the secret treaty". Adept at adjusting to political expedience and personal aggrandizement, de Keroualle bears witness to the indignities suffered by her mistress, developing an attachment to King Charles from afar. After the duchess d'Orleans' tragic- and suspicious- death, Louise is sent by the French monarch to Charles's court, there to insinuate herself into his life and serve as a vital link between the two kings.

Holloway Scott introduces her protagonist as a young, impressionable girl, loyal to her mistress and shocked by the debauchery of the French court, rivaled only by Charles' hedonistic court in an age of libertines, political opportunists and extravagant spending. Her first lesson: trust no one but yourself. From a penniless lady-in-waiting to the intimate of kings, Louise propels herself through beauty, wit and guile into a position that is virtually unassailable, one of the randy Restoration king's most beloved paramours until his death, when she is credited with guiding him back to the True Religion, Louis's most fond aspiration.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Amy M. Bruno on July 8, 2009
Format: Paperback
The French Mistress is the story of Louise de Keroualle, beloved paramour to King Charles II of England.

Louise's journey to prominence begins at the court of King Louise XIV where she was sent to serve as Maid of Honor to his sister-in-law, the Duchess d'Orleans. Henrietta, or as she was known at court, Madame, is also sister to the king of England, Charles II. Louise and Madame form a strong friendship over time and Madame comes to depend on Louise almost exclusively.

When Madame travels to England and Louise is of her party, she and Charles meet for the first time. They are infatuated with each other immediately. Really, Louise had already fallen in love with Charles through stories told to her by Madame of his kindness, mercy and honor. Henrietta, or Minette, and Charles have a singularly close relationship, quite an extraordinary thing for Royal siblings. Indeed, it is my belief that the strong bond that was to form a little later between Charles and Louise is strongly based on their equal love and affection of Henrietta.

After Madame mysteriously falls ill and passes away, Louise's future is uncertain and she is left to await her fate. Louise XIV and his councilors, aware of the monarch's affection for Louise, commission her to join Charles II's court with the purpose of becoming his mistress, getting close to him and then pass on vital information to France. Louise readily agrees, but has an agenda of her own.

Nell Gwyn and Barbara Palmer (Lady Castlemaine) are the principal mistresses at the time of Louise's arrival and although they don't pose much threat, at least one of them benefits from mocking and ridiculing her mannerisms.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Lynna on May 22, 2010
Format: Paperback
Having just finished "The King's Favorite," I was very impressed with Ms. Scott's writing style and dedication to historical accuracy. She endeared Nell Gwyn to me even more than before, and I was absolutely lost in that book from start to finish. I dove straight into The "French Mistress" hoping for the same effect, but I was somewhat disappointed. I will grant that the Duchess of Portsmouth is usually not among my favorite historical characters, but Karleen Koen's "Dark Angels" had softened me towards her. Not the case with "The French Mistress." If Ms. Scott was trying to make me sympathetic towards this usually vilified mistress of Charles II, she failed. Even in the very beginning when Louise is a fresh country innocent, she seemed a little too wrapped up with herself and what her devotion to her mistress could do for her to be convincingly sweet and naive. Almost immediately after her first visit to England Louise seemed to become extremely calculating and manipulative -which in all fairness she probably would have had to have been to survive- but it was very off-putting. Aside from crying over every little thing (which she was notorious for), she seemed to be constantly puffing and preening about her beauty, her skills as a hostess, her living quarters, her wardrobe, her jewels, her perceived influence over Charles, Queen Catherine's fondness for her- it just went on and on. Every little interaction she had with Charles seemed planned out to put her at the best advantage- eventually I was questioning whether she really loved him as much as she was constantly claiming she did.Read more ›
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